Ready to move your finances, and specifically, your credit cards, into the digital age? It looks as though two of the most recognized names in the world are hoping that you do just that. Both Visa and Google appear to be in a heated race to see which of the companies can unveil its impressive suite of digital credit card services.
Even More Advances
Occurring simultaneously are new announcements regarding the growth of this particular niche. Those with a lot at stake are working day and night to convince you to leave the plastic at home and instead, use your smartphone as your preferred method of payment. But here’s what you might not realize: by going digital, there’s a huge opportunity for advertising revenue.
Imagine using your smartphone to pay for your groceries and after you’ve completed the transaction, seeing an instant coupon pop up on your screen or an advertisement that’s hoping you’ll buy their product the next time you shop, instead of the brand you just purchased. No doubt, these are all things you can expect to see once the wheels are set into motion and digital wallets go mainstream.
The Google and Visa Dynamic
As mentioned, there are two huge companies leading the way for others in the smart wallet market. Google and Visa are strategically releasing only bits of information to the public (their public relations’ departments are being quite specific to avoid tipping off the competition), though both are promising new apps this year.
In fact, Google announced recently that it plans to release Google Wallet by the end of the summer – that means it’s just weeks away. Meanwhile, Visa also announced its timeframe and it’s looking as though they’re shooting for a pre-Thanksgiving release. Those in the know say profits could be as much as $44 billion within four short years for those companies and others that are sure to follow.
If Google is looking to be the first unveil, Visa appears to be the one who’s in the best position to take advantage of test markets, which is exactly what it’s doing. Teaming with cellular service companies, the credit card company is preparing to release an even larger mobile system. With names like Verizon an T-Mobile, it’s certainly a realistic goal, though it won’t be known until the results from those test markets are calculated. Currently, Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin Texas are two cities that have been named. Other cities and regions will likely be added.
Google’s technology includes what’s referred to as “near field communication”, or NFC. In short, this technology allows users to wave their phones over the scanners in their favorite department stores, restaurants or anywhere else. This definitely redefines “new money”. Each time you wave your smart phone, Google will be checking your information to determine your eating or buying habits, likes, dislikes and where you at any given moment. That information then shows up with very specific and targeted ads. The problem for many is that despite Google’s insistence that consumers “want us to tell them where to shop” consumers could feel overwhelmed with yet one more way to stay “on” all the time.
The Other Players
Other credit card companies are looking forward to their new digital credit cards, too. They’re expected to be much safer and for them, the important dynamic is that they will finally be able to shift much of the burden and costs associated with theft back to the merchants. This new technology, coupled with the new chip technology for the traditional credit card, will have repercussions for businesses around the world; just how much remains to be seen. Ultimately, though, the goal is to not shift the enormous costs of ID theft to merchants, but rather, to eliminate the vulnerabilities hackers take advantage of.
While any new way of doing things takes time to transition, it appears those who stand to profit are pushing hard to get this technology into place and running full-steam ahead. What do you think? Are digital wallets too invasive? Do you think the Google algorithms will collect entirely too much personal information? Will you prefer the classic credit card to the new digital wallets?